May 3, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. -
When Henry Trevathan, Jr joined NC State’s football staff as Director of High School Relations, he followed in his father’s gigantic footsteps with connections to both recent and distant history in the Old North State.
Father Henry, recently inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, has a football coaching career spanning 60 years which includes a myriad of accomplishments both on and off the field.
“It was wonderful,” he commented in reference to his NC Hall of Fame selection. “I am at an age offering a different perspective than a lot of other inductees who are younger. North Carolina has one of the better, versatile Hall of Fames.”
The younger Trevathan says his father “was very instrumental in my development,” but notes the elder didn’t follow traditional patterns.
“He didn’t push me into football, but provided the necessary resources for me. It was the same for my sisters. If they were interested in track, he would make sure they had what they needed.”
The younger Trevathan also said he didn’t hang out at practices like a lot of coaching sons. “I was around on work days when lining the field or sorting the laundry. But on game days, I was in the stands.”
It was all business for father Trevathan.
Better known by his peers as “Blacky,” the Tarboro native who grew up in Fountain, has been an inspiration and influential force to North Carolina high school coaches and players since his graduation from East Carolina in 1955.
After starting his coaching career in the midget leagues in Greenville, Blacky took his first teaching/coaching gig at 1A Windsor High School where he was the school’s only coach. There he taught five classes in science and biology plus held a homeroom. He coached five different teams that year.
“You had to pay your dues as a coach in those days,” he noted in reference to his first football head-coaching stint at Rocky Mount Junior High prior to coaching the Rocky Mount JV squad.
He then was promoted to a varsity assistant in Rocky Mount’s glory days on the gridiron when the school won the 4A triple crown – winning state titles in football, basketball and baseball in one year. Rocky Mount then won another football title the next fall to win four in a row – a record which still stands.
“In those days, athletes were encouraged to play more than one sport,” he remembered. One of the greatest prep athletes ever to play in North Carolina – Danny Talbot – played football, baseball and basketball at Rocky Mount during those glory days.
In 1964, Trevathan, accepted the head coaching job at Wilson-Fike – the smallest 4A high school in the state. With only 823 students compared to other 4A schools of 1800-2700, Fike had won only twice in its past 33 games when Blacky Trevathan changed its football culture.
Trevathan realized Fike couldn’t compete against those bigger schools by playing the game the same way. After conferring with a coaching peer who had the same idea, he moved both of his tackles to right of the center to create an “unbalanced line” – a move which leveled the playing field.
By 1967, the Cyclones were ready to become the first 4A North Carolina High School to win three consecutive state titles and Trevathan was voted NC coach of the Year after those championships.
Trevathan then moved to the college ranks for the next 11 years at his alma mater, East Carolina, where he became the longest tenured Pirate mentor. After a one-year stint at Lenoir Rhyne and three at Elon College, he moved to an assistantship under Dick Sheridan at State – specializing in coaching punters and placekickers.
During his nine seasons at State, three of his kickers made All-ACC, two were All-Americans, including Lou Groza winner Marc Primanti – the nation’s most outstanding kicker.
In 1992, Trevathan and Bill Dooley were recipients of the North Carolina High School Coaches Award for service and development of high school football in the state.
For the past 19 years, he has been a part-time coach at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
He recently has become reacquainted with former Wolfpack mentor Mike O’Cain, who was just appointed as James Madison University’s new offensive coordinator.